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Egypt seizes cargo ship blamed for blocking Suez, demands $900 million

A handout picture released by the Suez Canal Authority on March 26, 2021, shows the Panama-flagged MV Ever Given lodged sideways in the Canal   -  
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Egypt is demanding $ 900 million in compensation after the blockade of the Suez Canal at the end of March, and the container ship that caused it has been seized in the meantime, the government daily Al-Ahram reported on Tuesday.

On Monday evening, the head of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) had reported on public television "negotiations" to obtain compensation for the damage suffered when Ever Given was stuck near 'a week across the canal, crippling traffic on this crucial seaway.

Egypt made "no mistake" in this incident, he said, by blaming the ship.

"The negotiations are continuing, there are still many points (of stumbling block) with the company and the insurance" starting with the "sum", said Admiral Ossama Rabie.

A source within the SCA confirmed to AFP negotiations with the Japanese company Shoei Kisen, owner of the ship, and insurance companies.

Quoted Tuesday by Al-Ahram, the admiral indicated that his country wanted the payment of 900 million dollars.

"The Panamanian ship Ever Given was seized due to the non-payment of the sum of 900 million dollars (...) by virtue of a judgment rendered by the economic court of Ismailia" (est), he said.

The amount corresponds, according to the same source, to "losses caused by the boat to the Authority in addition to its refloating and maintenance operations".

Traffic on the canal, which accounts for more than 10% of world trade, resumed on March 29 after the ship was refloated with the help of international experts.

More than 400 ships had been stranded north and south of the isthmus for six days, forming gigantic traffic jams.

Flying the Panamanian flag, the ship, which is equivalent to four football fields, has since been stationed in the Great Amer Lake, in the middle of the canal.

According to SCA, Egypt lost between $ 12 million and $ 15 million per day the canal was closed.

One of its main sources of income, the passage brought in around $ 5.7 billion in Cairo in 2019-2020.

According to insurer Allianz, each day of downtime resulted in overall losses of six to 10 billion dollars.


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